JIMMY CHIBUYE, Lusaka
PRESIDENT Lungu has implored the church to help heal the nation by challenging vices such as tribalism and violence.
The President has also invited the opposition to join him in providing service to the nation through dedication to God, family and country.
Mr Lungu said the church should continue to pray for Zambiaâ€™s peace, unity and love and to help heal the country and overcome tribalism, regionalism and violence.
The President said this at the Anglican Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Lusaka yesterday during an interdenominational thanksgiving service for the January 20 presidential election.
â€œAs a jubilee nation that has enjoyed abundant Godâ€™s grace, Zambia can only build on the past successes by seeking the face of God. Let us all thank him for seeing us through the trying past four months,â€ Mr Lungu said.
He said as the body of Christ, the church should be proud of itself for the landmark 50 years of evangelism, which has helped enhance national cohesion.
President Lungu said prior to the January 20 presidential election, the Patriotic Front (PF) went through a very trying moment but through the spiritual intervention of the church, that is now in the past.
Mr Lungu said this is the reason he requested for the special thanksgiving service to acknowledge what he holds firmly that God has been gracious to Zambia.
He said politicians and Government, in particular, are satisfied that they have a reliable partner in the church.
The President has called on citizens to celebrate and encourage interreligious dialogue because it has made possible Zambiaâ€™s unique character as a peaceful nation.
â€œAs ministers of the gospel, we appreciate your selfless service to the nation and I can only encourage you to continue,â€ Mr Lungu said.
He said the PF, as a governing party, cherishes the partnership between Government and the Church.
He said citizens should, therefore, pledge to honour God by adhering to the Christian virtues upon which Zambia is founded.
President Lungu reaffirmed that Zambia will remain a Christian nation tolerant of other religions and urged all Zambians to seek God so that He can continue to bless the nation.
The head of state has further implored Zambians to spread love and not hatred, retribution or insults by tolerating each other regardless of peopleâ€™s different persuasions.
He said he believes that it is possible for all citizens to create a more just and caring society united in peaceful commerce, politics, religion and other spheres of life.
Mr Lungu said this is, however, only possible when love rules and not hate or vengeance and that the Churchâ€™s spiritual guidance should continue to move the country forward.
On the opposition, President Lungu said politicians, despite their affiliation, should emphasise the collective core values that unite the country and not that which divides it.
â€œI invite you to the concept of a loyal and patriotic opposition, and correspondingly, I promise you the same, because in the final analysis, there can only be one Zambia, one nation,â€ he said.
And Trans-Africa Theological College principal Adrian Chalwe said in a sermon that President Lunguâ€™s government of inclusiveness is encouraging and should be supported by all well-meaning citizens.
Rev Chalwe said Zambia is a blessed country and citizens should continue to embrace peace, unity and love.
President Lungu was accompanied by his wife Esther, Vice-President Inonge Wina, Cabinet ministers and other senior government officials.
Former President Kenneth Kaunda, MMD president Nevers Mumba and United Liberal Party leader Sakwiba Sikota also attended the service.
JIMMY CHIBUYE, Lusaka